During one of the region's hardest winters in 40 years, Portland General Electric and Oregon HEAT are working together to help thousands of low-income Oregon families pay their electricity bills.
In February, PGE will include Oregon HEAT donation envelopes in customers' electricity bills, which go directly to Oregon HEAT. The donated funds will assist families who cannot afford to heat and light their homes.
"December's snow storms may have had a sweeping impact on low-income Oregonians and we're challenged to help the tremendous number of families in need," says Roger Rees, executive director of Oregon HEAT.
Rees also said requests for help are pouring in to nonprofit agencies due to tough economic times.
"Many Oregonians are dealing with difficult financial circumstances right now," said Carol Dillin, vice president of public policy for PGE. "Because assistance requests are even greater this winter, participation in this program is critical for those in need."
Oregon HEAT is a nonprofit organization located in Tualatin that works year-round to help low-income families meet their energy costs and achieve energy self reliance.
The primary program objective is to prevent disconnection of utility service by providing bill payment assistance to low-income households in emergency situations.
Oregon HEAT works with 34 local social service agencies around the state to distribute funds to families in need. Donations are spent in the local communities from which they come.
Last year, Oregon HEAT distributed $525,000 to help almost 7,400 individuals in PGE's service territory keep the heat and lights on. PGE, its employees and customers make up a large part of Oregon HEAT's total contributions, donating more than $387,000 last year, including cash as well as in-kind contributions of office space, telephones and other assistance.
To make a donation, PGE customers may use the Oregon HEAT donation envelope included in their February billing statements. They may also call Oregon HEAT directly at 503-612-3790 or visit OregonHeat.org.